How to Know You're Ready for Parenthood

By Lee Grayson
BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Some people do it as a couple, but people occasionally do it alone. Certain people choose not to do it, and some folks shouldn't become a parent at all. Parenthood isn't something to undertake without serious thought and consideration, whether done as a partnership or as a single adult. The Michigan Office of Child Support recommends systematically exploring your financial and emotional resources and researching parenting responsibilities before making the decision to have a family. Raising kids is a lifelong commitment, and not everybody is up for -- or interested in -- the challenge.

Step 1

Research the financial issues and requirements for parenthood. Are you financially stable and established in your career? Can you reliably support yourself and your children or do you have a partner who can? Evaluate your personal finances using a list of parenting expenses. The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion offers an online calculator to estimate the costs of a variety of necessary parenting expenses, including health insurance, child care, food and housing. The calculator feature also allows you to track the needed expenses as your child ages.

Step 2

List the emotional requirements necessary for parenting, and think about your mental health and emotional state using this information. Are you ready to put the needs of your children ahead of your own? Can you be loving and demonstrate physical affection? Are you more interested in loving and nurturing than in being loved? Are you able to handle stress and anger easily? Are you patient?

Step 3

List the social and physical duties required for parenthood. Are you physically healthy? How do you handle lack of sleep? Are you and your partner in a healthy relationship and ready to parent as a team? Have you discussed aspects of parenting that may cause conflicts, like what religion if any to raise your child, or differing views on discipline? If you're considering becoming a single parent, do you have a good support network of friends and family in place?

Step 4

Babysit a newborn or small child over a weekend, and add items to your list of social, physical and emotional requirements as a result of your parenting experience. Take on feeding and bathing duties for a realistic appraisal of your ability to manage stress and properly wrangle young children. Think about your weekend to consider your ability to do the necessary work and your enjoyment from the experience.

Step 5

Evaluate your personal time and work schedule and think about the time commitment necessary for children. Young children need constant attention from you, family members or childcare professionals. Are you ready to give up doing many of the things you enjoy sans children? Analyze your routine to see how a child at various ages would impact your daily life. Pew Research found parents tie home quality directly with the time spent with children, and half of all working parents surveyed in 2011 found it difficult to balance both work and family.

About the Author

Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.